High school students in Hiroshima Prefecture are working to reanimate an Imperial Japanese Navy battleship which was sunk by U.S. forces during World War II using virtual reality technology.

The virtual reality tour of the Yamato, which remains one of the largest battleships ever built, will be completed as early as this summer and offered at the Yamato Museum in the city of Kure, where the battleship was built.

 Japanese battleship Yamato to be reproduced with VR tech

(Fukuyama Technical High School)

With VR technology using images, sound and vibrations, people will be able to tour the ship virtually, as if they are there in person.

Through the VR goggles, visitors will be able to hear the booming of the ship's cannons while standing on the Yamato's digitally-created deck. After the black smoke clears, the main battery of the battleship will emerge in front of their eyes.

The project has been undertaken by students at Fukuyama Technical High School as part of their efforts to reproduce wartime legacies. They began making the experience-based attractions in November last year.

In recreating the Yamato, the students interviewed the ship's former crew members and examined a scale model at the Yamato Museum, allowing them to reproduce in detail the main armaments and the chrysanthemum crest on the bow of the 263-meter-long battleship.

 Japanese battleship Yamato to be reproduced with VR tech

(Fukuyama Technical High School)

"New technology enables us to experience images realistically. We want to convey the tragedy of war to many people," said 17-year-old Tsubasa Hirata, a third-year student.

The Yamato, completed in Kure in December 1941, was sunk by U.S. warplanes in the East China Sea southwest of Kagoshima Prefecture while on its way to Okinawa.

"It feels like we are actually standing on the deck of Yamato," said Hiroshi Shintani, a curator of the museum. "It provides lessons of history by letting us consider why we had to build such a huge battleship."

The high school is also planning to make a VR tour of a shopping district in Hiroshima before it was hit by an atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, the area that was later to become the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Hiroshima industrial promotional hall, which is now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, will also get the VR treatment.